The Problem With Leaving Twitter


There are many posts going around about Twitter today. All of them are great reads that I recommend. In one post, Steven Hodson of Winextra and Mashable (congrats Steven!) pointed out how similar Twitter can be to Windows and how we just don’t want to live without either one. He’s absolutely right. However, just like users are switching to Macs, there’s plenty of alternatives to Twitter. Some people are already heading to Plurk. There are some complications to discuss first. Quitting Twitter is about as hard as quitting smoking for a variety of reasons. Here are mine.

Community & Brand

community With nearly 900 followers now, I don’t seeing that same community number somewhere else. Not that I don’t have faith in myself. It’s just that I’ve already established myself on Twitter and that took months and a ton of work. I’m recommended by my followers and I’m continuously interacting and building on these connections. I’d hate to severe those connections and no matter how I try to do it, it would be a very abrupt severance.

In turn, this could actually do some damage to my brand. There is no alternative with the same community activity as Twitter to help recover from any of that damage either. I could lose potentially valuable connections switching to another service. I could also put a strain on some of the connections I’ve already made. There are quite a few people that I only talk to on Twitter. I don’t have the time to email them and see what’s going on and they most likely won’t have much time to respond. It wouldn’t be the same anyway.

The way that Twitter helps you to establish and grow your brand and your own community is absolutely amazing. These are the biggest reasons some people are even on Twitter. No other service compares and I really don’t see anyone who isn’t of the elite establishing the same numbers, brand growth, and value somewhere else.

Time and Energy

calendar I don’t know how long I’ve been on Twitter. It’s been a while though and I’ve put a lot of time and energy into everything I’ve done on Twitter. I worked hard at tweeting and I feel I’ve damn near mastered Twitter.

Think of it like this: when you get out of one relationship that you’ve put so much time and effort into, do you really feel like going out there, just to find a replacement to try to rebuild what you had with someone else?

No, you don’t. In your mind, you know you can’t either. It would be too tiresome. It would seem so tedious. It’s such a long and rigorous process that we don’t even realize how hard it is until all of it is about to go out the window. I personally don’t want to go through it again just to replace Twitter. I want to do it because I want to do it. When it’s forced and you’re really not ready, you won’t get much out of it. Plus, you’ll be tempted to give up for no good reason.

It’s About the Community

blog It’s amazing to me how so much is dependent upon the Twitter community. Can you see the power that this community has? It’s the same with Windows to be honest. It’s still in demand because of the community. No matter how much we hate the Twitter system, we love the Twitter community. That’s what makes us put up with Twitter’s bullshit. We know just how hard it would be to find what we’ve found on Twitter. We’ve been looking for it for so long and whether or not it was there before, the community was never there the way it is today on Twitter.

This is why I can’t leave Twitter…not now anyway and hopefully not ever.

  • TheJennTaFur

    I still have faith in Twitter. I cannot get into plurk even though I have tried and I am annoyed my karma went down because I have not been using it. Oh well.. you cannot have it all.

    Wonderful article sis!

  • bgreen

    appreciate your struggle with Twitter, even though I do believe it will get better sooner than we think… all of us on Twitter today, right now, we're the early adopters, we're the ones who could see the vision, who have made the connection between the message and the medium, and I'm just getting started, will continue to follow and tweet and wait, when necessary, for the whale to spout then move on…

  • Stan Orchard

    I have faith that Twitter will survive and thrive. Why? For the exact reason you write about so well here. This community is worth a bundle. To a lot of people. I can't see it being abandoned. Investments are happening. Engineering is on-going. It will survive. Keep the faith.

  • n8k99

    twitter has been invested in heavily by some pretty big wigs- and with a little bit of time (let's say 6 months of diligent work) the fail whale will become a distant memory only brought out under extraordinary circumstances.

    the importance of twitter will not be so much on the actual webpage itself but as thread that sews together many different services to create a grander presence across Teh IntarWebtubes.

  • GeekMommy

    That's exactly it!! Brilliantly said.
    Thank you – now I'm going to go link this on…. yeah, Twitter.

  • Corvida

    It's so difficult to keep the faith in Twitter. I hate using it from the web for one and I can't use Twhirl to save my life. Everyone has a breaking point and I feel I'm approaching mine on Twitter.

    While this connections are important, if the service doesn't work you still have to find another way to reach those connections. That's what I'm working on now because I don't want to wait to find out what will happen. By then it may be too late to save those connections.

  • Greg Clinton

    Great read as always, Corvida. I appreciate the fact that you joined seesmic so now I can associate a voice and a face with your words. Hope to see more of you there and keep up the good reporting.

  • mindofandre

    I hope you DONT leave! I agree with you on these points, especially about establishing yourself. I don't have the time to do that all over again, it's just not worth it in my opinion.

    On the flip side, I also try to make sure I have alternate ways of getting to these people and hopefully if they remember where I'm at on the web with my blog, they will know where to find me. I do have faith that Twitter will get even more solid and soon too!

  • gwalter

    After reading your post yesterday, re: Portland and Twitter, I was thinking about some of the implications of Twitter that came up yesterday – or at least what I became aware of. First, Besos getting on board with Twitter; second, Twitter hiring that super-geek, engineer; and finally, I learned that Google had acquired Jaiku (old news, but new to me). Anyway, that got me to thinking.

    I compare the social networks to various bars/taverns one will find in a small town. Although every bar looks essentially the same to the common passersby, each has their own clique and their own flavor – subtle differences known only to the insider. Like you said about Twitter above, I was thinking the same thing this morning.

    Sure, I could pick up and move to another bar, but it would take awhile to gain trust and relationships. But why would I want to do that? I have a circle of friends here at Twitter's already. There are good people at Jaiku's, Pownce's, and Plurks – not to mention down the street at FriendFeed's, BrightKites, and that new place, Fire Eagle's.

    In fact, I'm not incredibly loyal – I cross post, so I already have friends in each place. But I'm not going to walk out on my 350+ followers now.

  • bukolae

    This week I decided that I will commit to Twitter. I signed up for Plurk but it just wasn't the same. So I will ride the down time, lost tweets, and lack of notifications until Twitter gets back on its feet.

  • Corvida

    Plurk is definitely not the same. I found the community a lot more random the Twitter. Twitter has definite niche focuses (tech, blogging, politics, design, programming, etc.) compared to Plurk.

  • bukolae

    Yes, the community is newer so that doesn't surprise me. I also found it difficult to make updates in two different platforms. Who has time for that?

  • Agershenbaum

    Keep the faith is my advice. I believe in Twitter and won't jump ship for another service. I may use other services for the differentiating features but Twitter will always provide a utility. With Amazon investing today, I can only think that the fixes will come faster than we think. We just need to stop the jones'in and cool off for a bit while they do their thing. Put it this way, to re establish the presence and influence you have through twitter on another site will probably take just as long as it will for twitter to clean up their act. Even then, you will not get back the same environment that you have carved for yourself anywhere else because not every person will follow you elsewhere. Some will migrate other places and will turn your audience into swiss cheese and fragment things. My advice is to stick it out.

    I dedicate this song to all those junkies in need of their twitter fix:

  • Agershenbaum

    I dedicate this video to all the junkies in need of a Twitter fix:

  • Sharon

    I hear you about Twitter – it's the community, the people that drew me here and have kept me here.

    I disagree however about Windows – I require my ground to be stable and Windows just hasn't given that to me – I'm an OS X freak fer sure. The car can be crazy outta control (Twitter up and down time) but the ground can't move for me (operating system.)

    I live and die by AIR apps, for Twitter whether it's Twhirl or Spaz, because of the real estate simplicity.

    Now that Twitter has real funding (Bezos) and real expectations (users and Seesmic), we shall see some improvement. I, as another reader did, also give it 6 months for change.

  • michellew

    You are so right. I think I just became follower 901.

  • Albert Willis

    It's been rough using Twitter these days; I also feel that it's all going to get worked out. Jeff Bezos wouldn't have invested if Twitter didn't have a concrete plan for brining stability to the service. And Twitter is hiring some scalability heavy-hitters to get things under control.

    Yeah, Twhirl has been weird for me too; luckily I can use Twitterrific most of the time.

    Corvida, I agree with your assessment of the Twitter community; I would add that it's also pretty damn resilient.

  • michellew

    You are so right. I think I just became follower 901.

  • Nikos Anagnostou

    I agree it is all about the community, but isn't true that your true followers will follow wherever you go? I made an experiment myself by opening a plurk account and within 1 day one third of my followers where there too.

  • Fred Brunel

    You're totally right. I tried to use Plurk but starting from scratch was a waste of time. And if your community can't follow you to this new service, it's pointless.

    I'm not sure about your Windows analogy though. I don't think people stays for the community. Windows has become ubiquitous at the time because there was no viable alternative (price/feature).

  • Pingback: Cloudy Thinking » Blog Archive » How I tried to leave Twitter, but failed.()

  • charlieanzman

    Corvida – You're right on with this post. It's not necessarily the addiction level (although I like your analogy), it IS the fact that people have built some huge follower bases that they can leverage at any time. They will keep coming back as long as there is a Twitter unless the service really went under (for like a week or more). Even then, they'd probably come back.

  • Andy C

    In my time, I have left Blogger, then WordPress dot com, then spontaneously decided to ditch my hosted WordPress in favour of Habari. More recently, Twitter and I went through a rather messy divorce.

    Most times, I don't even bother to put up a redirect notice or redirect my feeds. Sometimes this is due to blind incompetence but mostly it was a conscious decision.

    If people are bothered enough to seek out my new presence, it probably means they are genuinely interested and worth knowing.

    Also, I think it's fun to occasionally ditch everything that has gone before and start from zero (literally) and forge a new community.

    Or maybe I'm just weird.

  • zuko

    For those who like Plurk but don't want to lose his twitter community… May be it would be a compromise solution — to import your Plurk rss feed to twitter via twitterfeed?

  • Fred Brunel

    That's true.

  • nickobec

    Like most I experimented with Jaiku, Pownce, Plurk, BrightKite etc and each time I returned to Twitter, because of the community.
    I have strayed to FriendFeed and stayed there, I am involved in a quite different community there. I use Twhirl with both Twitter & FF windows open, if Twitter is no responding, I wil concentrate of FF.
    I do not agree with the Windows analogy, I use Windows at work, Mac OsX on my laptop and Ubuntu on my home desktop. I can live without any one Os and have easily (even my Mac) for any length of time.
    The bar analogy is better.
    If twitter loses the community I will be out of there.

  • Corvida

    I never even thought about Fire Eagle. But just because you cross post elsewhere doesn't mean you're disloyal to Twitter. I have communities on FriendFeed, Strands, Diigo, and a few other non-tech places. I cross post on them all, especially FriendFeed (though that's one of the points of FriendFeed). Doesn't mean I'm being disloyal to any of them.

    You used great analogies though, I want to make a post just so I can quote your comment lol

  • Corvida

    Maybe, but my followers are also though-leaders and experts (no offense), so in a sense, I may be following them more than they are following me. It's not the same at all though to get them to switch platforms if it's not something they understand or even want to do, no matter how much they want to stalk you.

  • Corvida

    The same applies with Twitter in a different way. There's no viable alternative to Twitter (community/brand). ;)

  • philbaumann

    Yup, there's a certain pliant intimacy to Twitter that's hard to beat.

    It is, mostly, a great community too (so far). A real democratizer, which is maybe why it's so appealing.

  • Corvida

    That's way to confusing. What I've sent on Plurk doesn't cater to my Twitter audience. It's two different communities for me and I personally don't want to bother checking on both conversations. It could either become very confusing or very time consuming.

  • starman

    While I agree that Twitter's community is very important, I wonder if it's people's laziness to move to another service that's keeping people in Twitter in the first place.

    I started a Plurk account and within a week I had 1/3 of my 300+ followers there, with more every day.

    Granted, Plurk is not Twitter, but it does keep the noise level down a bit.

    And really, if people care enough about you, they'll follow you wherever you go. The ones that don't, well, are they true followers or just people padding their own follow list? If you go to Twitter Karma, how many of people's followers have actually posted something in the last week or month?

    FriendFeed is starting to grow on me also. Not only is it like Plurk where it keeps the noise level down (albeit in a different manner), it's a great way to find new people.

    To be honest, I think Twitter as a service not only needs to become stable, but needs new features built in as well, with the stability issues, that might not happen for a while. We're already down to 20 req./hour and we even hit 10 a week or so ago. It's hard to keep up with things when 8 minutes is already too late.

  • gwalter

    Go for it!

  • lulugirl896

    I think what will eventually happen if Twitter doesn't become more reliable is that it will become a place where people will ocassionally pop-in to say howdy and send some DMs and that will be all. Sad, but true.

  • amsall

    I am amazed at the number of times the word “faith” is used in reference to Twitter. Is this a new religion :-) As we all know, faith is irrational and subjective by definition. When all is said and done, Plurk is much better for one2one, human2human conversation than Twitter.

    Well, I still use both Plurk and Twitter but I feel I'm getting closer and closer to Plurk – plus the “horizontal timeline” is real cool once you get used to it!

  • Pingback: Will The Last One Turn Off The Lights?  »TechAddress()

  • Pingback: Weekly Recap 062708: The FriendFeed Immigration Continues « I’m Not Actually a Geek()

  • Pingback: Twitter or FriendFeed? There can be more than one. » VentureBeat()

  • Pingback: Breaking the Rules and Still Winning: Twitter’s Je Ne Sais Quoi « I’m Not Actually a Geek()

  • Pingback: Disruptive Conversations()

  • Mark Waters

    The unreliability of twitter got too much for me on June 27th , I've tried jaiku, friendfeed, pownce and plurk but ended up setting up my own microblog at using WordPress with the Prologue theme.

    I find it better and am actually posting more , its also more personal and I don't worry so much about creating noise for the people who follow me.

    I've found that by reading peoples twitter feeds in an aggregator I can get a more coherent picture more quickly.

    The best part about twitter was the Instant Messaging interface and the 'track' facility , both of which are currently offline.

    The future should be more distributed not reliant on a single service provider.

  • Pingback: The Force Is Strong With This One (But is no Jedi, Yet)()

  • Nishland

    There will always be newer, bigger, better products/services out there. Advantages/Disadvantages to everything we use. That is the simple nature of competition. If we are making enough noise about Twitter or any of these other mediums, I am sure the developers are taking notice and working to improve (at least we can hope). Not like I am a twitter advocate or anything. If we continually abandon just to hit on the next 'new' thing, then what we will ever gain?
    I may not have a lot of followers on Twitter….neither have I promoted my brand. But I agree with you Corvida. Leaving would be bittersweet…

  • Pingback: Conversational Media Marketing: could not have come at a better time()

  • Pingback: Marc’s Voice » Blog Archive » New kinds of Infrastructure()

  • Pingback: Looking At Twitter’s Latest Bump Differently | SheGeeks()

  • Pingback: Use Podcasts to Build Your Personal Network : Brazen Careerist - A Career Center for Generation Y()

  • Pingback: Twitter « My Blog Empire()

  • twitter/cipals15

    You should better stay on twitter. Twitter is much more active and better than plurks service. Since you have established a community in twitter, continue it until you reach the top. You are not yet the top user so better continue on twitter.

  • Shaneen Clarke

    I agree with you, if you're already satisfied with your current home, why transfer, it's a risk and you might not know it's not that good.

  • Singapore Escort

    Its a case of the getting too attached to your “home” but sometimes, you gotta get out of your comfort zone because the grass could be greener over the other side of the hill

  • Jas Talents and Models

    Its a case of the getting too attached to your “home” but sometimes, you gotta get out of your comfort zone because the grass could be greener over the other side of the hill

  • Jas Talents and Models

    Its a case of the getting too attached to your “home” but sometimes, you gotta get out of your comfort zone because the grass could be greener over the other side of the hill